Fired DSU president’s attorney questions inquiryFARGO (AP) — The attorney for fired Dickinson State president Richard McCallum is questioning the timing of an investigation into the school’s athletic department.
FARGO (AP) — The attorney for fired Dickinson State president Richard McCallum is questioning the timing of an investigation into the school’s athletic department.
Attorney Ben Thomas of Fargo said Thursday he finds it curious that North Dakota University System Chancellor William Goetz ordered a preliminary review of DSU athletics shortly after McCollum was let go over allegations of inflated enrollment numbers at the college.
“Dr. McCallum was asked to resign over a minor, relatively inconsequential, enrollment reporting error,” Thomas said. “Now, a new investigation has been initiated. That raises the question of whether the new investigation is an attempt to find justification for a firing that, on its face, seems
A spokeswoman for Goetz said the chancellor is on annual leave and unavailable for comment. Pat Seaworth, staff attorney for the university system, said the inquiry into athletics is the result of recent complaints to the chancellor’s office.
“The chancellor has a responsibility to investigate and address reported concerns as may be necessary,” Seaworth said.
Thomas filed formal notice Wednesday with higher education officials that McCallum wants a hearing about his dismissal. It has not yet been scheduled. The state Board of Higher Education has the final say on McCallum’s employment.
The controversy arose from the 2010 fall semester enrollment count. A higher education audit report showed that 180 people that were counted as students had attended conferences or training seminars and were not enrolled at the college. They were given grades without their knowledge or consent, the audit said.
The report accuses McCallum of pushing other university administrators to use conference participants to inflate the university’s enrollment numbers.
Said McCallum in a letter to faculty and staff: “Any reporting errors were quickly corrected with no negative consequences to the university.”
Chip Poland, DSU agriculture and technical studies department chairman, said most faculty members he knows are “shocked, disappointed and confused” because they don’t think they know the whole story.
“I’m surprised that a president would lose his job over this, but I don’t have all the facts,” Poland said. “I personally believe he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do.”
Asked he would like to see McCallum stay, Poland said, “That’s not my decision.”
Josh Askvig, president of the DSU Alumni Association board, said he believes most school boosters want the conflict to end as quickly as possible.
“He’s certainly entitled to his rights and I would not want to avail him of those rights,” Askvig said of McCallum’s appeal. “It is probably best if everyone were to move on, settle this and start over.”
Asked about McCallum’s performance, Askvig said, “He has probably not been as effective as maybe he could have been, but we’re just hoping to move on.”